William Tell

As a boy in the 60s, I was hooked on this TV series shown on ITV.  It was made in black and white and, as colour televisions were sometime in the future, shown in black and white.  I was surprised to find out that it was made back in 1958 and 1959.  There is something to be said for repeats!


It was a time when the hero had no flaws and the villains were clear to spot not just because of their actions but because they rarely smiled!  The simplicity of the stories were comforting.  We knew that William Tell would triumph in the end and that he would overcome the forces of oppression.  I understood little of the political background: the Swiss were struggling under occupation by the Austrians.  Instead, the concept of the little guy fighting injustice was clear and added to a growing sense that those in authority did not always have the best interests of the population at heart.  In this series Landburgher Gessler was the hate figure.


The series was made at Elstree, outside London, in the studios there.  The mountains of Snowdonia in Wales stood in for the Swiss Alps!  Conrad Phillips played William Tell.  His wife was played by Jennifer Jayne and Richard Rogers was his son.

‘William Tell’ is in my hinterland.  What’s in yours?


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